Stockholm based Oscar Magnuson Spectactels has acquired design inspiration and craftsmanship expertise from the far east in its latest release, and the sensei is a significant one — KameManNen is described as Japan’s oldest manufacturer of eyewear, dating back to 1917. The name comes from the Japanese proverb Tsuru wa sennen, Kame wa mannen (a crane lives a thousand years, a turtle ten thousand years) that depicts longevity and patience.
The collaboration between the two has resulted in a design influenced by 1920s mountaineering. The collaboration’s first release is called KMN X OM P1 and comes in colour options of matte black/urban green, brushed silver/crystal grey and gunmetal/deep Ink. Oscar Magnuson kept KameManNen’s iconic and unique nose temple parts but added a modern touch on the frame with an egg-shaped front. It gives the frame a more sporty and modern feel, and at the same time respecting the century-old Japanese craft.
How did the collaboration come about? Why specifically KameManNen?
— We first came to know Kame Mannen about 10 years ago. I immediately fell in love with the pureness of the design and the perfection in craftsmanship in titanium that only Japan is able to produce. We have since then had a conversation ongoing between us.
Oscar Magnuson specializes in acetate frames and has invested many years in the perfection of this material. Titanium frames are something completely different and we always wanted to investigate it. We have immense respect for the knowledge you need to perfect it so if we were going to do it we wanted to work with the best in the industry. Therefore when the idea came up 2 years ago to start a collaboration project with Kame Mannen we directly said yes. Who would say no to over a hundred years of knowledge?
What are the similarities between your craftsmanship and KameManNen’s?
— In terms of craftsmanship, we are working with two completely different materials and frames. I think the similarities lie more in the approach we have to our jobs. We both work with pure lines and we both work in the high end of the market. The KMN x OM P1 project combines our knowledge in our crafts. KMN made the titanium frame in Japan and we did the acetate parts and the final assembly of the frame in our factory in Italy. So the project combines the best of two worlds.
Why do you think that Japanese and Scandinavian design work so well together?
— I think we have a similar way of looking at design. Both the Scandinavian and the Japanese modern design is focused on function, pure and natural materials and minimal expression. Neither Japan nor Scandinavian design is about ornamentation; we are both strongly rooted in modernism.